If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, then you’re probably well-acquainted with the distinct and delicious flavor of Parmesan cheese. This hard, granular cheese is a staple in many pasta dishes and sauces, adding a nutty, salty taste that can elevate any dish. But if you’ve ever purchased a block of fresh Parmesan cheese and wondered how long it will stay good in your fridge, you’re not alone.
How Long Can You Keep Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese?
When it comes to fresh grated Parmesan cheese, the shelf life can vary depending on a few different factors. First and foremost is whether or not the cheese has been grated. Pre-grated Parmesan cheese tends to have a shorter shelf life than whole blocks of Parmesan cheese due to increased exposure to air and moisture.
Whole Blocks of Parmesan Cheese
If you’ve purchased a whole block of fresh Parmesan cheese and haven’t yet grated it, the cheese should last for several months when stored properly in your refrigerator. To help extend its shelf life, wrap the block tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent air exposure. You can also store it in an airtight container.
- Tip: If you notice any mold or discoloration on the surface of the block, it’s best to discard it.
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese has a shorter shelf life than whole blocks due to increased exposure to air and moisture. Generally speaking, once opened, freshly grated Parmesan will last for about three weeks in your refrigerator before starting to lose its flavor and texture.
- Tip: To help extend the shelf life of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, store it in an airtight container or zip-top bag with as much air removed as possible. You can also add a small piece of paper towel to the container or bag to help absorb excess moisture.
How to Tell if Your Parmesan Cheese Has Gone Bad
While it’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to consuming expired food, there are a few telltale signs that your Parmesan cheese has gone bad:
- Smell: If the cheese has a rancid or sour smell, it’s likely gone bad.
- Texture: If the cheese is clumpy or slimy instead of dry and crumbly, it’s probably past its prime.
- Taste: If the cheese tastes off or has a bitter aftertaste, it’s best not to consume it.
In general, fresh grated Parmesan cheese should be used within three weeks of opening, while whole blocks can last for several months when stored properly. Remember to keep your cheese tightly wrapped and store it in an airtight container or zip-top bag to help extend its shelf life. And if you’re ever in doubt about whether your Parmesan cheese has gone bad, trust your senses and err on the side of caution.